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order of photographs incomprehensible to me


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Hi everyone,
I'm Guido Paradisi and I'm a contributor to Alamy.

This afternoon I was looking for a photograph that I'm sure I have on Alamy and I put the keyword in the Alamy search. The key word is Majella.
To my surprise in the first pages my photographs are there but they are very few.
This up to page 16.  From here on and up to page 19 (the last in my view) are all mine. On 4 pages there will be maybe a dozen photos of other contributors.

Nice, if it were not that they are at the end of the search and therefore no one will ever see them.

Mind you, mine is not a complaint.  Rather, I would like to understand where I am wrong and how I can improve this positioning.
Even for some photos where the Majella tag is present in my account they go out while in the search engine of Alamy no.

Can you explain this mystery to me?  How can I improve the situation?

Thanks to those who will have the patience to answer me.

p.s.  I also tried to change the research method between new creative and relevant.  the speech changes little.
A few photos on the first 15 pages, all (almost all) of my photos on the last pages

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Hi Guido, I'll start this off but I'm no expert, hopefully others will follow. I see from this search that you have uploaded 338 images taken in the Majella National Park, and they look like very fine pictures to me.

 

You are really asking about how the Alamy search algorithm works, and I guess how to best make use of it to see your pictures rise to the top of the pile. I think the short answer is that no-one really knows, and that also it can change, Alamy can change the importance of caption over keywords (tags) perhaps, or maybe supertags over caption, they could do this overnight but won't tell anyone, it's commercially sensitive because it also forms part of how they compete to give the best pictures over other agencies.

 

You can help by making sure, if appropriate, that 'majella' is a supertag, also you should include that in the caption in some way, or maybe the whole phrase 'Majella National Park'. I think the general consensus is that this helps. Also you yourself can experiment, take two similar images that currently appear close together in the results and update the caption/keywords/ supertags on one. Wait until the server updates (usually overnight) and see if anything has changed.

 

There is one thing you can't change, I believe that images from contributors with good sales records will be pushed up the rankings, but how, or by how much I wouldn't like to say.

 

 

Edited by Harry Harrison
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What you are describing is an aspect of Alamy's search results which we know a little about because of research done by other contributors. 

 

Your first image appear in position 3 of a search for Majella. This is quite good. The succeeding photos belonging to you then appear every 19 images in the search results. This pattern is imposed to prevent the top search results being dominated by one or two contributors. This pattern will continue as long as there are photographs from other contributors to fill the intervening spaces. You have 338 pictures of Majella, nearly one-sixth of all the pictures of Majella on Alamy. Once the algorithm is no longer able to distribute your photos among the pack, it will show all your remaining photos as a group - which is why you see such a great number at the end of the search.

 

You can't change the pattern of search results. However, you can influence the order in which your photos will appear in a given search by making sure your keywords are strongly releated to the main subject of each photo. Remove any keywords which are peripheral to the subject. Set supertags appropriately - you may not even need 10 supertags for every photo. This will reduce the number of false positives your photos get in searches and, in time, the most relevant photos for any given search will move to the front.  I do notice that like many contributors here, you put in all the keywords you can think of for each image. Resist the temptation! Focus on the main subject. Ask yourself the question each time - if  a customer uses this search term and my picture appears, is it likely they will want to use my picture for that subject?  To highlight just one example, image PR7PDB has the keywords cherry, cooking, garden, table and vegetarian. It doesn't really illustrate any of those subjects and may produce false positives, impacting your place in search results over the long term.

 

I know this is difficult when the keyword concerned is, like Majella, is relevant to some extent to nearly every picture you have in that set. There may be little you can do about that, but generally speaking, the advice to make your captions, keywords and supertags as tight and relevant as is possible will stand you in good stead.

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1 hour ago, Joseph Clemson said:

The succeeding photos belonging to you then appear every 19 images in the search results. This pattern is imposed to prevent the top search results being dominated by one or two contributors. This pattern will continue as long as there are photographs from other contributors to fill the intervening spaces.

Well I've learnt something as well, thanks.

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11 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

Per evidenziare solo un esempio, l'immagine PR7PDB ha le parole chiave ciliegia, cucina, giardino, tavola e vegetariano. In realtà non illustra nessuno di questi argomenti e può produrre falsi positivi, influenzando il tuo posto nei risultati di ricerca a lungo termine.

 

First I would like to thank you, Joseph Clemson, and Harry Harrison for taking the time to answer my question. Thanks, thanks and thanks again.

 

I understand what you mean and normally I try to be as close as possible both in description and as a tag to the subject. Trying to imagine how a possible buyer could search for my photo. I know I should probably do it backwards or figure out if a buyer might be interested in my photo given a particular keyword.

 

Actually my photo rating and comment system is working in searches. I normally have between 80 and 120 searches highlighted per day. It certainly doesn't mean much since in the end it is sales that make things beautiful for us .. RIGHT: D.

 

It remains however that, as in everything, there is always the possibility of improving. In my defense, if we turn to guilt, many of the classified photographs were taken by my father who did not understand the importance of writing a good title and having good keywords. But I am trying every day, compatibly with other commitments, to change all this.

 

Regarding your example, the number you reported to me is not in my photographs. I would like to go look and understand why I wrote or have been written so many keywords that are not relevant with the photo.

 

Returning to the question, what I was trying to understand is why I found myself in such a situation. I would say your explanation is quite plausible. Although I don't understand why the third photo in the first row is there since it hasn't been sold, there are photos uploaded before and photos that have been sold or zoomed in by customers but are at the bottom of the search. Mysteries of Alalmy?

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38 minutes ago, Guido Paradisi said:

 

Returning to the question, what I was trying to understand is why I found myself in such a situation. I would say your explanation is quite plausible. Although I don't understand why the third photo in the first row is there since it hasn't been sold, there are photos uploaded before and photos that have been sold or zoomed in by customers but are at the bottom of the search. Mysteries of Alalmy?

 

 

Alamy doesn't rank individual photographs, it ranks contributors So if you appear third it simply means you are the third highest contributor for that particular search phrase. Your highest-appearing photo will either be the one whose keywords most closely match the search, or if there are more than one that match, usually the most recent one to go on sale.

 

Alan

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13 ore fa, Guido Paradisi ha detto:
12 ore fa, Harry Harrison ha detto:

Ciao Guido, comincio ma non sono un esperto, spero che ne seguiranno altri. Vedo da questa ricerca che hai caricato 338 immagini scattate nel Parco Nazionale della Majella, e mi sembrano foto molto belle.

 

Stai davvero chiedendo come funziona l'algoritmo di ricerca di Alamy, e immagino come sfruttarlo al meglio per vedere le tue foto salire in cima alla pila. Penso che la risposta breve sia che nessuno lo sa davvero, e che anche questo può cambiare, Alamy può cambiare l'importanza della didascalia sulle parole chiave (tag) forse, o forse dei supertag sulla didascalia, potrebbero farlo durante la notte ma non lo diranno chiunque, è commercialmente sensibile perché fa anche parte del modo in cui competono per dare le migliori foto rispetto ad altre agenzie.

 

Puoi aiutare assicurandoti, se appropriato, che 'majella' sia un supertag, inoltre dovresti includerlo nella didascalia in qualche modo, o forse l'intera frase 'Parco Nazionale della Majella'. Penso che il consenso generale sia che questo aiuti. Anche tu stesso puoi sperimentare, prendere due immagini simili che attualmente appaiono vicine nei risultati e aggiornare la didascalia/parole chiave/supertag su una. Attendi che il server si aggiorni (di solito durante la notte) e vedi se qualcosa è cambiato.

 

C'è una cosa che non puoi cambiare, credo che le immagini dei contributori con buoni record di vendita saranno spinte in alto nelle classifiche, ma come o di quanto non vorrei dire.

 

 

 

Thank you Harry Harrison for taking the time to answer my question, I am very honored.

 

Like everyone here, I'm certainly trying to understand how you can improve your positioning within a search on Alamy. It is important because if you are, like in any search engine, let's say in the first three pages the probability of selling an image related to a search is much more probable.

 

So any advice is always welcome.


As I have already written, I always try to write a title, a description of the photo, including the keywords that I think are correct and mark the supertags with the ones that are most relevant to me.

Obviously I'm not as accurate as I think and I need to improve, and revise, my entire package.

 

Thanks again for your intervention

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2 minutes ago, Inchiquin said:

 

Alamy non classifica le singole fotografie, classifica i contributori Quindi se appari terzo significa semplicemente che sei il terzo contributore più alto per quella particolare frase di ricerca. La tua foto con l'aspetto più alto sarà quella le cui parole chiave corrispondono maggiormente alla ricerca o, se ce ne sono più di una che corrispondono, di solito la più recente in vendita.

 

Alan

Thanks for your intervention.

This consideration on Alamy's way of exhibiting is interesting. Very interesting.

 

What I don't understand is that the last part of your speech does not correspond to reality.

 

The third photo that comes out in the Alamy search, my photo, has never been sold and has not even appeared in the searches (this by reading the daily reports that Alamy makes available to us). On the contrary, photos that are in the last pages have been sold or, as already written, have been viewed and zoomed in.

And it is certainly not the one that has the greatest relevance to the chosen key.

 

Thanks anyway for the intervention

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2 minutes ago, Guido Paradisi said:

 

What I don't understand is that the last part of your speech does not correspond to reality.

 

The third photo that comes out in the Alamy search, my photo, has never been sold and has not even appeared in the searches

 

 

 

But that's exactly my point. The photo itself is not ranked so it's irrelevant whether it's been sold or viewed. All your photos together are ranked as a block depending on the contributor's overall performance. Whichever of those photos appears first depends on other factors as I explained in my earlier post.

 

Alan

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3 hours ago, Guido Paradisi said:

...

 

Regarding your example, the number you reported to me is not in my photographs. I would like to go look and understand why I wrote or have been written so many keywords that are not relevant with the photo.

...

 

Sorry Guido, that reference was a late -night bleary eyed typo. It should have read PR7DPB. 

 

It's always difficult to know what keywords to include when some things are minor elements in the picture, or if something is implied in the picture but not explicit. I lean towards keywording literally as much as possible. I set up an experiment for myself three or four years ago where I created an extra pseudo which I strictly keyword as tightly as possible, trying to eliminate the possibility of false positives as much as I can. That pseudo now has an above average CTR and has produced proportionally three times as many zooms and sales as the psuedo I used when I first started here and which I keyworded much more liberally. As a result, tight keywording is now my modus operandi.

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2 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

Your highest-appearing photo will either be the one whose keywords most closely match the search, or if there are more than one that match, usually the most recent one to go on sale.

Actually here she explains that the photos appear in the order in which they are most congruent with the search or have had a sale.

And that would be ok, but in my case (will it be a coincidence?) The photo that appears third (the one that makes her say I am the third best contributor for that keyword) is not the most congruent and has never been sold. On the final pages of the search there are photos that have more congruence and have also been sold.

But maybe it's me who doesn't understand what she wants to tell me. In this case could you explain me better? Thanks

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12 minutes ago, Joseph Clemson said:

 

Scusa Guido, quel riferimento era un errore di battitura a tarda notte con gli occhi annebbiati. Dovrebbe aver letto PR7DPB. 

 

È sempre difficile sapere quali parole chiave includere quando alcune cose sono elementi minori nell'immagine o se qualcosa è implicito nell'immagine ma non esplicito. Propongo letteralmente parole chiave il più possibile. Tre o quattro anni fa ho creato un esperimento per me stesso in cui ho creato uno pseudonimo in più che ho rigorosamente definito come parole chiave il più strettamente possibile, cercando di eliminare il più possibile la possibilità di falsi positivi. Quello pseudo ora ha un CTR superiore alla media e ha prodotto proporzionalmente tre volte più zoom e vendite rispetto allo pseudonimo che ho usato quando ho iniziato qui e che ho usato per parole chiave molto più liberamente. Di conseguenza, le parole chiave strette sono ora il mio modus operandi.

Um, thanks for the answer but the code continues to be wrong for me ...: D.

It doesn't matter, I'll see how to look for something with cherry and see if any inconsistencies come up ...

Thank you again

 

the new code returns the photo to me at this address https://www.alamy.com/colorful-architecture-of-douglas-douglas-isle-of-man-image220825987

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1 hour ago, Guido Paradisi said:

Um, thanks for the answer but the code continues to be wrong for me ...: D.

It doesn't matter, I'll see how to look for something with cherry and see if any inconsistencies come up ...

Thank you again

 

the new code returns the photo to me at this address https://www.alamy.com/colorful-architecture-of-douglas-douglas-isle-of-man-image220825987

 

Good grief, I'm losing my mind.. it's pr7dbp. This one.

 

It's time I went back to bed, I think. 🙃

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19 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

What you are describing is an aspect of Alamy's search results which we know a little about because of research done by other contributors. 

 

Your first image appear in position 3 of a search for Majella. This is quite good. The succeeding photos belonging to you then appear every 19 images in the search results. This pattern is imposed to prevent the top search results being dominated by one or two contributors. This pattern will continue as long as there are photographs from other contributors to fill the intervening spaces. You have 338 pictures of Majella, nearly one-sixth of all the pictures of Majella on Alamy. Once the algorithm is no longer able to distribute your photos among the pack, it will show all your remaining photos as a group - which is why you see such a great number at the end of the search.

 

You can't change the pattern of search results. However, you can influence the order in which your photos will appear in a given search by making sure your keywords are strongly releated to the main subject of each photo. Remove any keywords which are peripheral to the subject. Set supertags appropriately - you may not even need 10 supertags for every photo. This will reduce the number of false positives your photos get in searches and, in time, the most relevant photos for any given search will move to the front.  I do notice that like many contributors here, you put in all the keywords you can think of for each image. Resist the temptation! Focus on the main subject. Ask yourself the question each time - if  a customer uses this search term and my picture appears, is it likely they will want to use my picture for that subject?  To highlight just one example, image PR7PDB has the keywords cherry, cooking, garden, table and vegetarian. It doesn't really illustrate any of those subjects and may produce false positives, impacting your place in search results over the long term.

That agrees exactly with what I've seen (the rule of 19). The only additional factor I've seen is that previously zoomed images will get promoted in the results if the same search string is used again. But even then the rule of 19 is still applied. NB. Alamy can, and do, change their algorithm from time to time.

 

Mark

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14 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

That agrees exactly with what I've seen (the rule of 19).

I see that you spoke of this here Mark, very interesting:

 

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/12067-impact-of-making-alternate-pseudonym/#comment-223343

 

I wonder if it holds true if the 'contributor' is an agency such as PA Images

 

Edited by Harry Harrison
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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

I see that you spoke of this here Mark, very interesting:

 

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/12067-impact-of-making-alternate-pseudonym/#comment-223343

 

I wonder if it holds true if the 'contributor' is an agency such as PA Images

 

 

There are actually some patent filings that give an insight into the (possible) way Alamy's algorithm works. 

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/034508882/publication/GB2424091A?q=Alamy search results

Obviously there's no guarantee that's the way the current algorithm works. But there appear to be some similarities in behaviour.

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

 

There are actually some patent filings that give an insight into the (possible) way Alamy's algorithm works. 

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/034508882/publication/GB2424091A?q=Alamy search results

Obviously there's no guarantee that's the way the current algorithm works. But there appear to be some similarities in behaviour.

 

Mark

 

This is absolutly fascinating, Mark. Thank you for posting it. I had no idea that it might be possible to apply for a patent for such a generic operation as searching a database and applying a ranking order to the results. 

 

The 2011 document describes in brief outline how picture metadata is used to select images from a database from search critera. The 2007 documents(s), 'Assignment of a display order to images selected by a search engine' seems to describe very much the way we have believed the search to operate, assinging each 'supplier with a handicap (presumably the  individual's search ranking based on CTR and other factors), assigns a score to each image to place it in the search results, then updating the supplier's handicap. 

 

As MArk says, there is no way to be sure this represents their current methods, but it could still be the foundation. 

 

The detail is obviously much more complex than the outlines set out in the published documents, but it is a fascinating insight into their thinking (if you find such things fascinating, that is 🙂).

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3 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

I see that you spoke of this here Mark, very interesting:

 

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/12067-impact-of-making-alternate-pseudonym/#comment-223343

 

I wonder if it holds true if the 'contributor' is an agency such as PA Images

 

 

Thank you for pointing us back to Mark's original work. I couldn't find the initial discussion thread, through I had a vague memory it was Mark who had done the legwork.

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4 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

I had no idea that it might be possible to apply for a patent for such a generic operation as searching a database and applying a ranking order to the results

Yes, I've no idea why Alamy bothered to patent this. IMHO it's a waste of time and money to patent a "hidden" algorithm. Firstly it tells competitors how your system works, and secondly it's difficult to enforce (because it's hard to diagnose if a competitor has then copied the exact method) without starting legal action against them. Much better to simply keep such algorithms secret and retain evidence that the algorithm was invented and used by your organisation from a particular date (so nobody who files a patent later can stop you using it).

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Ciao, Guido

 

I have no real idea of what your problem is . . . but I submit images regularly and I show up early in subject searches. ??? 

 

I do want to say that you have some striking images in your portfolio that make me what to fly down to France. 

 

Edo

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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